No! No! Neuroma!

Previously, I talked about having a neuroma.  It used to be a little irritating, but it really didn’t affect my lifestyle much.  Things have changed enough that I want to share the situation with other amputees and those that love us.  Let’s start with the basics.  What exactly is a neuroma?

The Amputee Coalition of America defines it as: “A neuroma is a collection, or bundle, of nerve endings that forms under the skin of your residual limb. Think of it like a tangle of hair. It can become very sensitive, especially if the tangle is pressing against your prosthesis”.

The Association of Children’s Prosthetic-Orthotic Clinics (ACPOC) gives this definition: An “amputation neuroma” is a nonneoplastic tumor occurring at the central end of a cut nerve as the nerve fibers or axons grow from the open proximal end and become incorporated in fibroblastic tissue derived from supporting elements of the nerve or from adjacent traumatized muscle or fascia. This proximal neuroma begins immediately after the laceration and requires several weeks or months before becoming a mature, circumscribed, nonproliferating mass. The neuroma may become firmly attached to surrounding soft tissue or bone, resulting in a traction stimulus each time this segment of the extremity is moved. Traction, percussion, or emotional stimuli cause a painful, unpleasant sensation. When the neuroma is stimulated, paresthesias, usually described as “pins and needles,” occur along the course of the normal dermatome or myotome, in addition to pain produced directly at the point of pressure.

Massachusetts General Hospital uses this description:  “A neuroma is a disorganized growth of nerve cells at the site of a nerve injury. A neuroma occurs after a nerve is partially or completely disrupted by an injury — either due to a cut, a crush, or an excessive stretch. The neuroma is a ball-shaped mass at the site of the injury, which can be painful or cause a tingling sensation if tapped or if pressure is applied. Although not always the case, a neuroma can be extremely painful and can cause significant loss of function for the patient by limiting motion and contact with the affected area.  Neuromas can occur after trauma and even after surgery in any region in the body since most areas have nerve fibers providing feeling. Painful neuromas are common after amputations in the hand and upper extremity (arm) and in the lower extremity (leg)”.

I explain it in a simple and less wordy way. It is a big ball of tightly intertwined nerves.  Mine is protruding from the bottom right side of my residual limb.  When it is touched or pressed on, the sensation can be extremely painful.  Even in a resting position, my “foot” (the bottom of my residual limb actually feels like my foot) constantly feels like it is asleep.  I have constant pins and needles, although most of the time it is tolerable.

This is my limb.  You can see there is a prominent bulge on the right side.  That is the neuroma.


Right side with the neuroma

Right side with the neuroma

Left side - smooth with no neuroma

Left side – smooth with no neuroma



In this picture, the nerve looks like a Q-Tip. The end “ball” is the neuroma.


In this photo, the rectangular shape at the end is the neuroma.

The thing with my neuroma is I had no idea what it was in the beginning.  No one warned me that “Neuromas are found in more than 90% of lower extremity amputations, of which 30-50% are pain-generating for the patient” (according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health – Clinical Trials). It is important to note that according to ACPOC:  “Not every amputation neuroma is painful. Postoperative percussion of an amputated nerve end causes local pain and exaggerates painful phantom in the anatomic zone of the nerve. Gradually, the neuroma becomes more tolerable, provided that excessive stimulation from persistent traction or pressure does not occur”  When I first started feeling the tingling in my “foot”, the doctor told me it was a normal feeling and nothing to worry about.  So, for 3 1/2 years, I was under the impression that all amputees walked around with tingling or pins and needles in their residual limb. Finally, after several visits to see my Prosthetist (Rich Wall – Hanger Clinic in Bellevue, WA) because I was having problems with my socket fitting comfortably, Rich suggested it may be a neuroma.This was over a year ago.

Now, you would think it would be easy to go see a doctor and have it diagnosed and taken care of, right?  Not even close!  Apparently, not many doctors are willing to take on a patient that has the bone issues I do and even fewer are willing to take on an amputee with bone issues.  I am not willing to bounce around from doctor to doctor.  I wanted to find a new doctor to replace my surgeon who retired (he did every one of my surgeries, including the amputation from 2001 – 2011).  I know I will need knee replacement and probably several other surgeries and I want a doctor who will be with me through them all.  With Rich’s help, I found a doctor who would see me.  My appointment was last week and I got good news and bad news.  The good news was he was willing to take me on as a patient….the bad news was he was willing to take me on for everything EXCEPT the amputation site and the neuroma.  Then, he gave me more good news.  He would refer me to a local doctor who was very well-known and specialized in amputations.  Then, more bad news.  He is so highly regarded that the first appointment I was able to get with him is December 1st.  That is 4 1/2 months away!

After researching the subject to see if there was anything I could do while I wait, I was surprised to see how many ways there are to treat a neuroma!  There are three routes you can take:  Non-medicine, medicine and surgery.

Non-medication options include (according to the Amputee Coalition of America):

  • Ultrasound, which is essentially a machine that uses sound waves to generate heat within a body part; it can help increase blood flow so that inflammation and swelling can be decreased
  • Massage, which also helps decrease inflammation and helps desensitize your residual limb to touch
  • Vibration, which creates a mild shaking to contract muscles, to decrease inflammation and pain
  • Percussion/finger tapping at the point of pain, which also helps desensitize your residual limb
  • Acupuncture, manipulating thin, solid needles that have been inserted into specific acupuncture points in the skin
  • TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), which produces a mild “pins and needles” sensation, overriding some of the pain that your body is producing.

Modifying the prosthesis socket to prevent rubbing at the sensitive part of your limb may also be helpful.

I have not tried ultrasound, TENS or acupuncture. Massage, vibration and finger tapping takes the edge off and makes it a little more bearable for me.  Unfortunately, the relief stops when the rubbing or tapping stop, so unless I plan on spending the rest of my life in a chair rubbing my leg, these are not viable options.  Rich has modified the socket for me by putting an indent onside the socket to prevent rubbing.

This is a look into my socket from above.

This is a look into my socket from above. You can see what looks like black scuff marks on the left side (as you look at the photo). That is where he made an indentation for the neuroma to sit.

A close up view of the indentation.

A close up view of the indentation.

Because neuromas are made up of nerve endings, possible treatments include medications that help with nerve pain, such as:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  • Specific antidepressants and anticonvulsants that have been found to be effective for nerve pain
  • Steroid injections.

I have tried several medications, including over the counter anti-inflammatory medications; Gabapentin (Neurontin) which is a medication used to treat certain types of nerve pain and multiple pain medications. I discovered that using an Icy Hot roll-on and covering the neuroma area helps to dull the pain to the point of being tolerable.  I recently found a “recipe” for blend of essential oils that do the same thing that Icy Hot does, but works a little better.

The final option is surgery, which we believe is what I will need do to the size, location and severity.

This picture shows the most sensitive and most tolerant areas.  Of course, I am in the sensitive area.

This picture shows the most sensitive and most tolerant areas. Of course, I am in the sensitive area.

The surgical procedure seems fairly simple and straight-forward. According to Massachusetts General Hospital, “The neuroma is then excised, and the nerve is placed in an area in the deeper tissues where it will not receive frequent direct stimulation (from pressure or contact) during normal activities. Often, medications are used in conjunction with surgical treatment to modulate the body’s response to the neuroma pain. This often enhances the effects of surgery”.  ACPOC states: “Complete revision of the amputation stump can be avoided if the nerves are not adherent to bone or do not show excessive involvement in the terminal scar. Mobilization of the flaps can be avoided by isolating the nerves about 3 inches proximal to the end of the stump and resecting a 1 cm segment from each nerve.This technique has been successful in eliminating the painful neuromata in both below-elbow and below-knee amputation stumps”.

Unfortunately, since I cannot even get an appointment until December, I most likely will not receive any treatment until after the first of the year. That means months of discomfort and even pain.  I would love to blame the doctor that told me it was normal……or the doctors who refused to take me on as a patient….or the medications that didn’t work, but the bottom line is I can only blame myself.  I knew there was something wrong, but I didn’t pursue it or get a second opinion until it was really too late.  If you only take one thing away from today’s blog, let it be LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!  I have said it over and over and yet, I second guessed myself. I am not just saying this to amputees.  Everyone needs to be become their own best advocate! No one knows your body better than you do.  If you are not comfortable with what a doctor tells you, do not be afraid to get a second opinion.  I can’t help but wonder how much pain and trouble I could have saved myself if I had gotten one.

If you are an amputee and have lots of discomfort around your socket, have tingling or pins and needle feelings or anything that just doesn’t feel right.  Talk to your doctor and prosthetist ASAP!

As always, thank you for allowing me to be a part of your day.

You Spoke…I Listened

Yes, once again it has been a while. Life just keeps happening even though I would like it to slow down! I took my son off to Boston to college. My 8-year-old started third grade and my oldest daughter is getting married in 25 days! Thank goodness I know how to multi-task.

So, I have had so much positive feedback since my last blog. You spoke…I listened. I have decided to continue writing and forget all about the nasty comments. In reading all of your amazing comments, I realized that I am truly making a difference. I am sincerely grateful to all of you who have supported me through this journey. I originally started this as a way to keep my friends and relatives updated, without having to repeat the story again and again. I had no idea that in a three-year period, I would go from several of my close friends reading this to an average of 144 readers a days…in 42 countries! THANK YOU!

We are told that positive reinforcement is important when raising children. Well I am here to tell you it works for adults as well! Some of the amazing things you have told me over the last few weeks will definitely keep me going! Here are some of the comments I received. I am not posting these to boast, but to share my excitement about the lives I have touched and to continue to bring you along on my journey. After all, YOU are the reason I do this.

Anne says: Hi Lisa – I’ve been reading your blog for the past couple of years, since my daughter (in her early 20s) had an accident which left her with one amputation and the other leg that was (and still is) severely compromised. My way of coping with this was to learn as much as I could to help my daughter, to try to understand what she has to cope with, and your blog has been a great help. I think I know how I would feel if it happened to me, but in truth, I will only REAlly know if I have to go thro it myself. Being so upfront about something that is so personal can’t be easy, and I thank you so much for taking the time and love to try to help amputees to come to terms and non-amputees to understand. Thank you Lisa, please don’t stop, and please ignore those idiots with their pathetic remarks……they only show themselves up. The people that count are your lovely family and friends, don’t let the ignorance of strangers spoil your reaching out to those who appreciate your blog.

Anissa said: Lisa, first of all I have to say, as an amputee, I LOVE your blog and look forward to your posts.
My initial reaction to these emails (probably like most people) was, Whaaaaaat?! But after the initial shock wore off, I had to laugh a little.
In response to the question, “Why do you separate yourself (as a amputee), from non-amputees? You have adopted the general notion that being an amputee means you are less human”.
Um, I hate to state the obvious but you ARE, in fact, an amputee. Writing about it doesn’t mean you are separating yourself, but rather that you are accepting and embracing this part of who you now are.
And, of course (as you well know) you ARE a “normal human being”. However, you are a human being that is also missing a leg (aka, an amputee).
Just as I could never begin to understand what it must be like for someone to be deaf, or blind. A non-amputee could never understand what it’s like to BE an amputee. An amputee will have challenges, emotions, concerns, experiences, (and relationship issues) that a non-amputee will never have, and therefore, never understand.’.
For someone to say they “don’t sympathize you”. I say, Great, thanks!!
I don’t want your sympathy. Sympathy is nothing more than pity. Just because I’m missing a leg, doesn’t mean I’m a helpless, but I still might need help. And if I did need help across the road, (which anyone might) I would gladly take it, and be thankful.
As to the comment, “what makes you less than a fully able criminal?” Um, hopefully nothing makes you less than any kind of criminal!
And lastly, in response to the first email: If a person can’t even articulate a coherent sentence, all you can do with that is laugh, and hit delete. 
Keep at it Lisa! You are leaving a mark on the world that is bigger than you know.

April was kind enough to say this: Lisa, I know I don’t always comment on all of your posts, but I do read them all. And as an amputee, I love reading about your experiences and life. I know it’s easy for me to sit here and say, “Just ignore those assholes!” But really, I truly believe you’re doing good. I wish I would’ve found something like your blog when I got my foot amputated 12.5 years ago. I knew no one who had gone through what I was going through and the support groups in my area were filled with older folks who were losing limbs due to diabetes. Not that their amputations are any different, they just weren’t like me, a young mother with many, many more years to live, you know?

I guess what I’m saying is if you feel you need to shut down the blog, I’d completely understand. But if you’re able to help just one person who is getting ready to lose a limb or has just lost a limb, I think it’s worth a million emails from haters and devotees.

Keep your head up, beautiful! And thank you! You rock!

And from Fraser: Lisa, never doubt that both you and your blog are helping. I lost my lower right leg (careless I know) back in November and, although an infrequent visitor to your blog, I find it amusing and inspiring. Keep it up and ignore the detractors and the ignorant!

Thank you my friends for all of your kindness. Thank you for your questions and your loyalty. I promise you I will keep writing and ignoring the nasty comments, as long as you are willing to read what I have to say. While my words may help some of you, your support will help ME more than you will ever know. Thank you.

And as always, thank you for allowing me to be part of your day!

P.S. Is there anything you would like me to write about?

Is it Time to Make a Change?

Ok, first, I have had SERIOUS writer’s block! Which, in a sense, is probably not a bad thing for someone who writes a blog about learning to live and laugh as an amputee. It means that life has been uneventful (at least as far as the amputation goes). However, it is not fair to my readers, especially those of you who have been with me since the beginning. I have tossed around ideas, but nothing really stuck out and I kept slacking….until Tuesday. I went into the Prosthetist and met a woman in the parking lot. She and I have met via email, but never in person. I was THRILLED to bump into her! I wrote about her on May 5, 2012 in “Introducing Cupcake”. Scooter is a 70+, spry and hysterical woman, who also happens to have a residual limb named “Cupcake”! She told me she noticed it had been a long time since I had written. She told me she kept checking but there was nothing new. She also called me out on my last blog being a re-run of a past blog. I decided I better get my butt in gear and WRITE. I did not want to upset Scooter or Cupcake! So here it is!

I have noticed on a lot of interactive amputee support websites, the words, “look for a new Prosthetist” are thrown around a lot. Of course, there are times when a new Prosthetist is your best….or only choice, but I think too often, we jump the gun. Our care is not something the Prosthetist should bear alone. He/She needs our participation in order to properly do his/her job.

I have heard people say, “my Prosthetist didn’t give me any options” or “my Prosthetist didn’t tell me that” or “my socket doesn’t fit right” and the list goes on. My question is, how involved did YOU get? Did you ask what your options were? Did you ask questions? Did you give the Prosthetist a list of what you wanted and didn’t want? Did you take your time with the test socket and insist on changes? Or did you just sit back, complacent, and expect your Prosthetist to read your mind?

Don’t get me wrong. If your Prosthetist tells you that you “have to” get a certain product and doesn’t give you any other options or does not listen to you, then yes, you may want to find someone else. If you tell your Prosthetist that you are in pain or having issues with your prosthesis and they tell you “that is just how it is”, then yes, find someone else. But if you are not interacting and participating with him/her or being a little demanding, your issues are just as much your fault.

Here is an example. I got a new socket a while back. It just never seemed right. I had multiple issues including the fit, pain and the prosthesis making odd noises. My Prosthetist, Rich, tried multiple techniques to fix it and finally, in December, instead of settling or giving up, we decided to just start over with a new one. I have been wearing a test socket since January. Everytime I would say, “we still haven’t gotten it right”, I would hear from friends and other amputees, “maybe it is time to find a new Prosthetist”. My response, “NO WAY!” Rich LISTENS to me. He is willing to keep trying until I am 110% happy. That is NOT a Prosthetist you toss away. If your Prosthetist decides to give up and says, “there is nothing more we can do”….that one needs to be traded.

Part of my pain issue is due to a neuroma, which has nothing to do with Rich or my prosthetic. Instead of telling me it was not something he could help me with and I should see a surgeon, Rich made it his mission to design a socket that did not press on the neuroma and was more comfortable for me, so I could avoid surgery. Guess what? He did it. But I had to help. I had to be insistent. I had to put my fears, feelings and frustrations into words. I had to believe that “good enough” was NOT good enough for me. I had to be aware of my body, where the pain was and what it felt like. I had to put all of these into words to explain to Rich what I was dealing with, so he could help me.

Friends, this goes for any medical provider. They do not know how you feel unless you tell them. Most professionals are in the medical field because they want to help people. However, in order for them to help you, you must help yourself first. No one will ever be a better advocate for you than YOU. Just because something hasn’t been done, does not necessarily mean it CAN’T be done.

As I shared in “The First Four Months”, I wanted a great ankle, that moved like a regular foot, making walking look more natural. I decided on the MotionFoot. There was only one issue. I was insistent on a split toe so I could wear flip-flops. It was not something I was willing to give up. This ankle was not designed with a split toe and I was told I would have to choose between split toe OR the MotionFoot. I said that was not acceptable. Rich, being a great Prosthetist, agreed and contacted the company. He said, “what will it hurt?” Imagine our surprise when they said they had tossed around the idea of designing one with a split toe. They said if we provided them with a foot shell I liked, they would make a foot for it. So here I am, with EXACTLY what I wanted, because I asked and I have a Prosthetist that listened.

So is it time to make a change with your Prosthetist? That is entirely up to you. But before you make the decision, ask yourself, “Am I being as involved as I should be?” The answer may surprise you.

Thank you for your patience with my writer’s block. I am always open to suggestions! Send me your ideas!

And as always, thank you for allowing me to be part of your day!

Memorial Day Revisited

because of the feedback I received, I have decided to re-run the blog that appeared last Memorial Day. Enjoy!

Today’s blog is a combination of rant and education. If you do not want to hear a rant, learn anything or hear the word God, I suggest you stop reading now, otherwise, here I go.

For days, I have been watching postings on Facebook (these are real) that say things like, “YES! A three-day weekend!”…..”Woo hoo one more day to party”…..”Thank God, an extra day to relax”……”Can’t wait to go camping and hang with my friends all weekend”…and the list goes on. What I haven’t seen are many comments on what today is REALLY about. Today is MEMORIAL DAY. It is a day to remember and honor the heroes who have fought and given their lives so the rest of us can enjoy the partying and barbeques and camping and extra day off of work or school. I am not without fault. For years,I too have looked at today as a “day off”. I am not quite sure what has changed. It may be the beautiful woman I have recently become friends with. Ashley raises her four kids primarily by herself as her husband while her husband, who is a submariner in the US Navy, is gone 3-6 months at a time, never quite sure where he is, what he is doing or when he will be back home. It may be my brother who was a United States Marine and shared stories with me of a young man seeing and doing things no one should face. It may be communicating with many servicemen and women who have become single, bilateral, trilateral and even quadruple amputees as they serve and protect. It may be my son, who was going to join the Military after high school. We met with the recruiter and I was terrified. He has decided to wait until he graduates college to join, which gives me four years to read stories and let the stress and worry build. It may be a combination of things, but whatever it is, this year, I woke up and prayed. This year, I decided to dedicate my blog to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

I found a website ( that said the following: “This site was created to help promote the return of the original intent and meaning back to Memorial Day, to be a central point for finding information on the day, and to provide an online community for people to share their feelings, pride, respect and honor for those that gave their all…..Memorial Day started off as a somber day of remembrance, a day where we in America go to cemeteries and place flags or flowers on the graves of our war dead. It is a day where we remember our ancestors, our family members, our loved ones who have given the ultimate sacrifice. But now, too many people “celebrate” the day without more than a casual thought to the purpose and meaning of the day. How do we honor the 1.8 million that gave their life for America since 1775? How do we thank them for their sacrifice? We have 364 other days to celebrate and enjoy the freedom and life that we have because of their sacrifice…’s only by actions that we can repay those who have come before us. Let us take just one day to remember.” As I read these words, I felt somber, as the meaning of this day began to truly sink in. I also felt guilty about all the years I never even acknowledged what Memorial Day was about.

The number of fallen soldiers given above stunned me. 1.8 million people dying so we can truly live? Granted, that has been since 1775 when medical care was poor and battles were more primitive. The numbers of fallen soldiers had to decrease over time….right? The only way to find out was to research it. Part of me wishes I never had looked for the information. What I found made my stomach turn. I typed “how many us soldiers have died in Afghanistan and Iraq?” The number of links that appeared was unbelievable. I didn’t even know where to begin. As I looked at different sites, I was absolutely stunned and then I came upon the Washington Post ( and the tears began to well up in my eyes. According to this site, “6,648 U.S. service members have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom”. While seeing that number is shocking, seeing it broken down the way this article does it makes the reality really set in. There are break downs by state, year, age of the servicemen and women, service branch, cause of death and location of the death. If that is not enough, not only does the site give a picture of each solider, but clicking on the picture gives you the specifics on each of them. It is absolutely surreal. I spent an hour clicking on pictures and barely put a dent in it.

I am not saying that today should be a day filled of being somber and depressed. I do not believe that is what these soldiers would want. They fight for freedom and we SHOULD celebrate that today. We should enjoy our lives, our family and our friends. However, we should also remember why we are able to do that. Take the time today to explain to your children the true meaning of today. Call a Vet and thank them for their service and protection. Take a moment of silence to remember those who have fallen and to pray for those who still fight. Think about the words of Lee Greenwood (in the song God Bless the U.S.A)

I’m proud to be an American
Where at least I know I’m free
And I won’t
forget the men who died who gave that right to me
And I gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today
cuz there ain’t no doubt I love this
land, God Bless the USA.

Toby Keith

Toby Keith

Please be safe and enjoy your freedom today. And as you think about the true meaning behind today, be proud of the men and women who have fought for your country, whether it be the United States or outside the United States.

As always, thank you for allowing me to be part of your day!

Lindsey’s Story

This woman is amazing! She is smart, beautiful and has a sense of humor that may be more warped and twisted than mine! We met on Pinterest of all places and became fast friends on Facebook. I feel blessed to know her. Lindsey, from the United Kingdom, is a make-up, airbrush and nail artist who also happens to be a bilateral below the knee amputee.

lindsey sitting

Lindsey was on IV antibiotics for 4 years as she battled a bone infection in both of her feet. After discovering that the infection was not getting any better, she chose to amputate her right leg in April of 2012 and her left leg followed in August of 2012. After the amputations, Lindsey wore cosmeses (“flesh” covering) on her legs. Just before Show Your Mettle Day last year, she told me that she had been thinking a lot about WHY she was covering her metal and decided to have the cosmeses removed.

This was one of Lindsey's cosmesis covered prosthetic legs.

This was one of Lindsey’s cosmesis covered prosthetic legs.

Lindsey recently told me, “I’ve been showing my metal since May 2013 and it feels great! Since stripping the cosmeses off I have been like a new woman! More confident and kick ass than before!

lindsey chair

lindsey Family

I LOVE this picture of Lindsey in her custom-made "stump warmers"

I LOVE this picture of Lindsey in her custom made “stump warmers”

My first Grandson, Oscar was born shortly after my first amputation and I look after him whilst my daughter and son-in-law are at work. He keeps me on my toes! I am a peer mentor at my local hospital and love meeting with amputees new and old, sharing stories, alleviating fears and smoothing the way. I’m so very fortunate that I met you Lisa, you have helped me through so much of my journey and are a constant inspirational to me and so many others”.

lindsey boardwalk

And I am honored to have people like Lindsey, who help make my journey easier as well.

As always, thank you for allowing me to be part of your day!

Dawn’s Story

As you have seen this month, I have become very good friends with many amputees whom I have yet to meet. This next person is an exception. Not only have we met, but I consider her one of my dearest friends. We met through our mutual Prosthetist, Rich Wall. Dawn and I were introduced in the waiting room of the office and immediately became close friends. We text almost daily and get together for lunch at least once a month. We even went shoe shopping last week. Our friendship developed quickly. Yes, it began over the fact that we are both amputees, who adore our Prosthetist, but it turns out we have so much more in common, including our love for Vampire TV shows and our VERY twisted sense of humor. I absolutely adore her and I know you will too! This is Dawn’s Story in her own words.

Dawn and I with our Prosthetist Rich.  He was speaking at a Career Day and we got to be his "show and Tell"

Dawn and I with our Prosthetist Rich. He was speaking at a Career Day and we got to be his “show and Tell”

I was born missing both tibias and had my amputations at just over a year old. This has been all I’ve known, since I learned to walk in my first pair of prosthetics. As you can see in the photo, they’ve come a long way. My first pair didn’t even have a bendable knee. The photo of me wearing my second pair of legs, you can see had a knee, which was really just a hinge. There were metal bars attached to a belt around my waist to keep them on and I wore stump socks between my legs and the sockets. There were bulky, fell down a lot and I was constantly hiking them up. It’s difficult to be inconspicuous when your hand is down your pants and you’re trying to fish a stump sock up. That was pretty much how all of my legs were until I got my first pin suspension sockets in 2002.
dawn legsdawn little girl

I didn’t have the support that is available today or any peers to talk to about being an amputee. I just figured it out as I went. I’m usually very positive but I’ve had plenty of melt downs and still do at times. It’s so nice to have some friends out there now to talk to (especially you Lisa, my life has been enriched knowing you), laugh about the absurdities and know that they really understand.

I wear my stubbies when I’m at home and also out in the woods walking my dog. Yes, people are usually shocked when they’re out for a hike and come across this short person who looks like she’s walking on her knees. I also wear them out kayaking, one of my favorite hobbies (the photo below is during a day kayaking, stopped on a little island for lunch).

At the beach in her stubbies

At the beach in her stubbies

Dawn in her stubbies at home.  She describes it as "being in slippers"

Dawn in her stubbies at home. She describes it as “being in slippers”

I do face other struggles as a result of my amputations. Long story short, I had a bad fall landing all my weight on the end of my stump and ended up in a wheelchair for several years. Being inactive for so long, gained weight. I wanted to lose the extra weight before having new legs made. A year and a bit and 65 pounds lighter and I got the legs I wear today. They are the most comfortable and sexy legs I’ve ever had.

Dawn in her newest legs (and you can see by her shirt, she has an awesome sense of humor!)

Dawn in her newest legs (and you can see by her shirt, she has an awesome sense of humor!)

I’m proud to show my metal and my mettle. I rarely have a day out without being approached with questions, comments or just a thumbs up. I also love being a peer visitor and helping when I can. Not having had that myself I know just how important it is. Things happen and instead of taking them too seriously, I usually see the humor in it. How can you not laugh about breaking down in the middle of an intersection wearing stubbies and my husband’s underwear. I can pretty much guarantee that tow truck driver will never have another story quite like it.

I do also struggle with other medical issues as most of us do but I still wouldn’t change any of it. I’m not one to dwell on ‘why me?’… Why not me? Am I helping anyone just by being me? I don’t know but I hope so. 🙂

Bill’s Story

The stories I have posted so far, are all people who have started off as readers and have become friends. These people and their stories remind me that I am not alone and I am not the only one who has had to face pain, suffering, trauma and self-doubt. Bill is another person who started as a reader way back at the start of my blog. He is another shining example of strength and perseverance. Below, Bill shares his story.


I am from the eastern shore of Maryland, a little town called Denton. I had a total of three knee replacements. After the first one, my bone started to deteriorate so the doctors had to do a second knee replacement. That lasted about two (2) years and then the components came loose, so they did a third one. Ok, so then the third knee replacement got infected! At that point, the doctors said I had three (3) options.

The first option was, I could simply live with the infection. Haha! Like that was a real option, aye? The second option was, I could have a rod put in my knee and I would be stiff-legged, which meant I would not be able to ride my scooters. Plus, there was no guarantee that the infection would not come back. So, that was not really much of an option either. Then they said that the last option would be to amputate. I had already pretty much decided to tell them to take my leg because I was sick of all the operations and pain I had been through, so that option seemed like the only one. On October 13, 2010, away it went and I became an above the knee amputee.


I started riding my scooter about 4 short months after they took my leg. I have been very lucky I have only had one small bout with depression and that was just a little bit….about 30 minutes…and I was done with that. I have struggled with trying to get a leg to fit right and feel right but so far that has not happened, so I still use crutches to walk. Other then that I am doing well. I am happy that I get up every day.


As always, thank you for allowing me to be part of your day!